The embattled leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, Hon. Reginald Ukwuoma, was at the receiving end of a blistering rebuke from the former Minister of Transportation and Leader of the APC in the State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. This happened over the weekend at a meeting called by the former Governor to resolve the lingering leadership crisis rocking the APC in Etche Local Government Area.
The leadership crisis came to the limelight when a group of eight leaders in Etche passed a vote of no confidence on the leadership of Ukwuoma, primarily because of the way he worked against the interest of Etche LGA in the just concluded senatorial primary elections of the APC, and called for his removal as leader by Amaechi. Not long after that, a group of ten Ward Chairmen also supported the call for his removal. However, there had been counter votes of confidence by leaders and ward chairmen who are still loyal to the leadership of Ukwuoma.
Worried that the leadership crisis might lead to electoral misfortune of the APC in Etche, Amaechi called a meeting of the two groups in Etche and some select leaders of the APC in Rivers State to find a way out of the imbroglio. A reliable source who was at the meeting said that after listening to the two factions, Amaechi agreed with the “Ukwuoma must go” group that Ukwuoma betrayed Etche and the leaders were right to lose confidence in his leadership. Amaechi confirmed his preference of Nnamdi Okere which he conveyed through the State Party Chairman Chief Emeka Beke yet Ukwuoma and his cohorts chose to betray Etche.
According to our source, he went hard on Ukwuoma and berated him for the role he played in scuttling the aspiration of the people he is leading but insisted that it will not be politically expedient to replace him as leader of Etche APC so close to the election. “Not many of us at the meeting ware shocked when Amaechi stopped short of calling Ukwuoma a betrayer because we knew the truth all along even though some of us were opposed to removing him at this period as that may cause even more crisis” said our source.
After the dress down by Amaechi, Ukwuoma was forced to offer a grovelling apology for his actions during the primaries and appealed for forgiveness from those he had hurt. “I give it to him. When he saw that Amaechi was not happy with him, he made a smart political move by swiftly apologizing for his actions and appealed for all factions to let bygones be bygones and come together for the sake of winning the elections” It remains to be seen whether Chief Nnamdi Okere, and his group have accepted the apology and buried the hatchet since many of them were not present at the meeting, revealed our source.
Amaechi also confirmed that he was the one that asked Hon. Charles Anyanwu to run for the House of Assembly election in his constituency because he wanted some people who have had previous legislative experience to run. He also directed that Hon. Ephraim Nwuzi should disband the NGO he set up, the EPI, which he and Ukwuoma have been using to run as a parallel Party structure in Etche. He admonished all the leaders and Ward Chairmen in both factions to come together and work in unity for the interest of the party.
When we sought reactions from members of both factions, they all declined to make any comment. A member of the anti-Ukwuoma group said that he is not competent to speak on the issue as their leaders have not given the permission to do so while a member of the Ukwuoma group contacted said the outcome of the meeting was not for public consumption.